I mean, I can see cobra. But downward dog doesn’t really look like Fido stretching after a nap: it really should be named triangle pose. Except there’s a triangle pose already, and it doesn’t look like one.
So we’re stuck with the names we’ve got, unless you take a pre-schoolers’ yoga class, and then they come up with far better names like cheetah and aardvark and T. Rex (I’m guessing). The rest of us have to settle for “variation on this” and “revolved that”. How about we revert to 1940’s Hollywood film-naming convention and name the sequels “Son of” as in, Son of Frankenstein, Son of Zorro, etc.?
So here’s Son-of-a-Camel, a variation on, and easier to do than, camel pose, and involves a few other core-stability muscles.
1. Kneel. Keep your hips aligned with your shoulders and knees. Set your hands on your hips to even them out.
2. Lift your arms to provide extension to your back. Shoulders press actively away from the hips. Take two slow breaths.
3. Twist to your left. Drop the arms to shoulder level, palms facing up. Revolve through the hips, mid-back and shoulders to wherever you can go. Take two slow breaths.
4. Staying revolved, lean back. Feel your thighs engage; engage your abdominals also, so you’re not just relying on your back muscles to keep you in this revolved-leaning-back position.
5. Raise your right arm overhead and reach it toward your left hand. You’re still revolved, you’re still leaning back. Take six slow breaths. Repeat the entire sequence on the other side.
Benefits: Engages your quadriceps, abdominals and obliques and strengthens the paraspinal muscles. Allows you to check out the person behind you in yoga class.
Avoid if: Your knees hurt in this, or if the reclining part of the pose pinches muscles in your low back. Otherwise, you can adjust the intensity by revolving less or by leaning not quite as far back.
Final thoughts: Son-of-a-camel is a gentle but effective core-stability enhancer, and nobody will ever ask you if you’re a one-hump or a two-hump camel. (If they do, you know they’re well on their way to becoming unenlightened.) Next week: son-of-a-downward-bitch. Just kidding.